The hermit state should push on following its “breakthrough” intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test last month to “hasten its final victory”, a senior figure from the ruling Workers’ Party said.
Speaking on the first day of a munitions industry conference in Pyongyang yesterday, Thae Jong-su said the North should increase the “quantity and quality” of its nuclear weapons.
And in an unprecedented move, Kim Jong-un’s state media service provided coverage from inside the summit.
South Korea says the regime is probably using the publicity to show off its ICBM launch and justify its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Giving a presentation to the conference, Thae claimed North Korea has joined the ranks of global nuclear and military powers thanks to Kim’s “undaunted spirit of offence.”
He said: “North Korea has laid the solid material and technical ground in the nuclear weapons research field to produce any kinds of strong nuclear weapons.
“A breakthrough has been made for the development of strategic weapons, having researched and completed the production of cutting-edge technologies and materials, which had been the exclusive property of the countries claiming to be military powers in the rocket sector.”
He went on to claim dictator Kim had set up a “legal foundation for bolstering up the nuclear force”, despite continued and widespread condemnation from world leaders.
Thae described the November 29 test of the Hwasong 15 ICBM as “a great victory” and “a great event to be specially recorded in the history of the country”.
The conference was reportedly attended by engineers who worked on the Hwasong 15 project.
The latest long-range missile reportedly has the range to strike anywhere in the United States and the UK.
The Hwasong 15 is larger and more advanced than the Hwasong 14, which was tested in July.
And although there is debate over whether the rouge state has the ability to fit a miniaturised nuclear warhead to its new weapon, experts agree the regime will develop the technology in the near future.
An official from South Korea’s Ministry of Unification told reporters the regime was probably publicising the munitions conference to show off its achievements and as an attempt to justify its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The Seoul-based Yonhap news agency reported the official as saying: “It seems that North Korea is trying to use the conference to show off its accomplishment following the claimed completion of state nuclear power and to build internal unity.
“It is the first time North Korea has made the Conference of Munitions Industry public… It is very unusual.”